The industry is on pace to have more than 200 300mm fab lines in operation by 2026, forecasts Knometa’s Global Wafer Capacity 2022 At end of 2021, there were 153 Semiconductor fabs processing 300mm wafers for the fabrication of ICs, including CMOS image sensors, and non-IC products such as power discretes. The 300mm wafer fab count increased by 14 in 2021, the most in one year since the same number opened in 2005. There are 10 fabs scheduled to open in 2022, followed by another 13 in 2023 and 10 in 2024. An increasing number of 300mm fabs are being built to fabricate non-IC devices, and power transistors in particular. The manufacturing cost benefits of processing chips on the large wafers come into play for device types characterized by large die sizes and high volumes. Examples of ICs with these characteristics include DRAMs, flash memory, image sensors, complex logic and microcomponent ICs, PMICs, baseband processors, audio CODECs, and Display drivers. While large-size power transistors are still small compared to the die sizes of these ICs, they ship in high volumes and are big enough to keep a 300mm fab loaded at a cost-effective production level. According to IC Insights, unit demand for power transistors in 2021 reached 43.5 billion for power mosfets and 2.2 billion for IGBTs. Of the 10 300mm wafer fabs scheduled to begin operations in 2022, two will be focused on the production of non-IC products. One is a CR Micro fab in Chongqing, China, and the other a fab in Xiamen, China, owned by Silan Microelectronics. One-third of the new 300mm fabs opening this year are being built by TSMC. Responding to high demand for its foundry services, the company increased its capital spending 74% in 2021 to $30 billion. Much of that spending went toward equipping the Phase 4 and Phase 5 fabs at its Fab 18 campus in Tainan. TSMC is also finishing up a second fab at it Fab 16 site in Nanjing, China, to meet demand for mature technologies, especially 28nm CMOS. Texas Instruments and STMicroelectronics (and its new fab partner Tower Semiconductor) are completing the construction of 300mm fabs targeted at analog and mixed-signal IC production. TI reported a huge increase in capital spending for 2021 with 279% more spent during the year than in 2020. Most of the money was used to buy new equipment for the company’s second fab in Richardson, Texas, and third 300mm fab overall. The RFAB2 facility will more than double wafer capacity at the Richardson site. Only two of the new 300mm fabs scheduled to open in 2022 are for memory products. SK Hynix is expected to begin operations on a Phase 2 line for 3D NAND at its M15 fab site in Cheongju, Korea, while Winbond plans to start up a new DRAM fab in Kaohsiung, Taiwan.